October 4th, 2018 by
UK’s Most Venomous Spiders Cause Schools to Shut for Up to Three Weeks
Four London schools have been forced to temporarily close to students and staff as a result of rampant false widow spider infestations. False widows are just spiders, and can be kept at bay with regular spider repellent Noble false widows are the UK’s most venomous spider and are named for their resemblance to the deadly black widow spider. While not deadly, false widow bites can nonetheless cause extreme pain, swelling, blistering, fever, and nausea. The spiders have been found in two primary and two secondary schools in Newham, East London, in large enough swarms to warrant complete closure until the infestation has cleared. There have been no reports of staff or students at any of the schools being bitten. Despite this, pest control experts advised that the schools be closed until the spiders and their eggs have been removed. The possibility of teaching students in alternative locations has been explored but at the time of writing, students are simply being instructed to stay home. False widow spiders – like all spiders – seek out warm, sheltered places to mate in the autumn months. This leads to a sharp increase in the number of false widow sightings around October. First arriving in the UK on trade ships in the 1800s, false widows were initially only found on the south coast, where the weather is warmer. However, rising temperatures in recent decades have led to the spiders spreading northwards and they can now be found as far north as Inverness. For more information on false widows, read our false widow blog here. False widows can be deterred using ordinary spider repellent.
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